|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
U.S. National Criterium Championships - NE
Downers Grove Village, Illinois, USA, August 19-20, 2006
Stage 4 - August 20: USCF Mens National Criterium Championship, 80 km
Return to racing culminates with national championship
Kayle Leogrande takes field sprint for win
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Downers Grove, Ill.
Kahala Lagrange rider Kayle Leogrande's son sent his father a message this morning: "I know you can win, Dad!" And that message was running through his mind half-way through the race when the cramping in his legs almost made it too much for him to stay in the race. "I just kept telling myself, 'One more lap, one more lap.'" the California native said near tears after the race. His perseverance paid off as Leogrande was able to make it to the final lap where he launched himself around from ten riders back to take the all-important lead in the final two turns to win the elite national championship.
The win did not come easy as the nine of the final ten laps were led by the Bianchi-Grand Performance team out of Minneapolis. Six riders from the team kept the pace at just under blistering to prevent last-minute breakaways from escaping as they tried to set up their two sprinters. "We were looking for help from the other big teams," said Dale Sedgwick. But the help did not come so the team's efforts were wasted while the other sprinters rode the wave until the last lap.
On the final lap the team led on the uphill but around the first turn an attack by former elite road champion Scottie Weiss (Hincapie) disrupted the game plan. "At that point our sprinter Pete Hanna and I had to go and cover it," said Adam Bergman (Bianchi-Grand Performance.)
As the field reached the top of the course, near the steep section called "the wall," Leogrande made his move. "Brad Huff told me at Superweek about this course, that you have to sling-shot it around on the climb," he said. This gamble around the outside as the field tried to pick their speed back up for the turn around back down to the finish made up his ten place deficit. "If I was going to blow I was going to do it then."
But he still had juice left and recovered on the downhill towards the final four turns. "I was second going into the second to last two turns," he said. From there it was the usual drag race to the line. But for Leogrande, this was a much bigger race in terms of a whole career. He was a promising junior rider that raced with David Clinger and the likes on the L.A. Sheriff team. However, he stopped racing when he was eighteen to focus on his tattoo business, which is evident from the artwork that covers his arms and legs.
He tried returning to racing a few years ago, even racing for a short time on the Jelly Belly team. But it was three years ago that he decided to come back full time. This year his results kept growing as he racked up top five places out in California. "I'm always sprinting with Rahsann Bahati and I took third place amateur at Superweek this year. But this race was my goal all year."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Matthew Moses/www.moses-images.com
1 Kayle Leogrande (USA) Kahala La Grange 1.54.08 2 Steve Tilford (USA) Trek/Shimano 3 Jamiel Danesh (USA) RhVilla.com/Montano 4 Eric Marcott (USA) Bianchi 5 Chad Cagle (USA) mercy 6 Erik Tomlinson (USA) Dent Wizard 7 Philip Wikoff (USA) Team Hotel San Jose 8 Jason Snow (USA) cycle science 9 Shawn Willard (USA) Wheel & Sprocket 10 Mark Hekman (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch 11 Rich Harper (USA) Abercrombie and Fitch 12 Daniel Holloway (USA) GS Lombardi 13 Ben Raby (USA) Bianchi/Grand 14 Marco Aledia (USA) Texas Road House 15 Michael Cody (USA) FiordiFrutta 16 Paul Martin (USA) Texas Roadhouse 17 Pete Hanna (USA) Bianchi/Grand 18 David Wiswell (USA) CRCA/Sakonnet 19 Brandon Gavic (USA) UW-Milwaukee 20 Jeff Hartman (USA) Big Shark Racing 21 Dean Laberge (USA) g.s. lombardi sports 22 Kevin Attkisson (USA) Texas Roadhouse 23 Kevin Kremke (USA) Bike Barn Texas 24 Nicholas D. Onate (USA) Karl Strauss/SDBC 25 Patrick Dunaway (USA) Cal Giant 26 Edgar Ibarra (USA) Richardson Bikmart 27 Shadd Smith (USA) Trek/Volkswagen-Mid 28 Jaime Gandara (USA) Richardson Bikmart 29 Kelly Ruddick (USA) wildoats/als 30 Shane Weaver (USA) Hincapie 31 Reid Mumford (USA) ABD Cycling Team 32 Patrick W (USA) ccb/volkswagon 33 Josh Dillon (USA) Fiordifrutta 34 Bennet Van Der Genugten (USA) Bacardi/Nuvo 35 Michael Ebert (USA) ABD Cycling Team 36 Chad Nikolz (USA) Broadmark/Hagens-Be 37 Michael Kehrberg (USA) Dogfish 38 Derek Goerke (USA) HRRC/CollegePoint/ 39 Patrick Briggs (USA) Cal Giant 40 Dan Vinson (USA) Kahala LaGrange 41 Michael Necessary (USA) Mesa Cycles Racing 42 Steen Rose (USA) Richardson Bikemart 43 Christian Kearney (USA) RHVilla.com/Montona 44 John Seehafer (USA) Team Einstein's 45 Ryan Gamm (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch 46 Stefan Kadar (USA) RGF Solutions 47 Jason Chatham (USA) Cumberland 48 Andrew Crater (USA) Wheel & Sprocket 49 Andrew Minier (USA) Nature Valley/Penn 50 Karim Abdelkader (USA) Tortuga/Big Brothers 51 Eric Forrester (USA) Priority Health 52 Scottie Wiess (USA) Hincapie 53 Janne Hamalainen (USA) CTCA / Tulsa 54 Skiles Keith (USA) texas roadhouse 55 Ian Stanford (USA) Nature Valley/ Penn 56 Andy Wilson (USA) Karl Strauss/SDBC 57 Mat Ankney (USA) mercy 58 Joshua Carter (USA) Mesa Cycles Racing 59 Cole House (USA) Wheel & Sprocket 60 Martin Adamczyk (USA) LOT / POLISH 61 Jeffrey Schroetlin (USA) Mesa Cycles Racing 62 Norman Zellers (USA) Health Delivery Inc. 63 Charles Crouse (USA) DogFish 64 Tom Burrz (USA) West Michigan Coast 65 Rob Kelley (USA) Training Bible 66 Abraham McNutt (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch 67 Jason Smith (USA) Dogfish 68 Frank Dierking (USA) ABD Cycling Team 69 Ben Renkema (USA) WMCR 70 Brian Dziewa (USA) mercy 71 Trevor Lister (USA) Turin Bicycle/Life 72 Dan Timmerman (USA) Fiordifrutta 73 Shane Peltonen (USA) Eclipse Racing 74 Luca Fagundes (USA) ABD Cycling Team 75 Paul Swinand (USA) MetLife Cycling 76 Dylan Lewis (USA) ABD 77 Andrew Lister (USA) Turin Bicycle/Life 78 Christopher Monteleone (USA) Hottubes 79 Pat Collier (USA) Summit Velo 80 Steve Sonheim (USA) south central racing 81 Paul Sumner (USA) GS Lombardi Sports 82 Brian Wyrick (USA) Mercy presented by 83 Leo Frayre (USA) Richardson Bikemart 84 Christopher Powell (USA) Watermark 85 Edward Beamon (USA) Navigators Insurance 86 Matt Willinger (USA) Cal Giant 87 Harry Clark (USA) Texas Roadhouse 88 Joseph Coddington (USA) Manulife Fianacial 89 Max Clauson (USA) Wild Oats / Al's 90 Jared Facigzewski (USA) VMG Racing 91 Josh Gewirtz (USA) Fior di Frutta 92 Jack Daugherty (USA) labor power 93 Todd Shaker (USA) abercrombie&fitch p/b 94 Chad Thompson (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch 95 Guy East (USA) CRCA/Sakonnet 96 John Minturn (USA) Team Hotel San Jose 97 Malachi Peacock (USA) Abercrombie & Fitch 98 Clark Priebe (USA) Team MACK Racing 99 Randall Coxworth (USA) Karl Strauss/SDBC 100 Christopher McDonald (USA) Karl Strauss/SDBC